Key Differences Between Lion's Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, & Chaga


The four major medicinal mushrooms are lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, and chaga. All four have the potential to improve health through their potent adaptogenic and immunomodulating effects. This is perhaps the most obvious thing they have in common: their ability to support the immune system over time.

However, each of these mushrooms are also a little bit different. Understanding which one you’d want to take will depend on where you’re at, what your goal is, and what effects are specific and unique to each medicinal mushroom. 

That’s why in this blog I wanted to break down the difference between lions mane, reishi, cordyceps, & chaga by discussing the benefits and personality of these potent mushroom extracts. 


Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane is a really unique medicinal mushroom because of its effects on the brain and nervous system. It provides the most noticeable cognitive support of all the medicinal mushrooms, and has the most nootropic-like effects: increased concentration, improved memory and mood, etc.

Lion’s mane does this by increasing production of Nerve Growth Factor in the brain, as the name implies, NGF facilitates the regrowth and healing of neurons in the brain. Lion’s mane has also been found to increase blood flow and circulation to the brain.


As I mentioned in the introduction, all of the medicinal mushrooms have underlying immunoprotective effects in common. However, chaga is the number one mushroom for immunity due to its unique chemical constituents.

Chaga contains an abundance of antioxidants, polyphenols like betulin and melanin, and a variety of polysaccharides. In other words, chaga is jam packed full of rare medicinal compounds that can take our immune system and overall health to new levels.

Despite its powerful immune effects, chaga’s personality and flavor are quite gentle and mild. This is another unique aspect of this mushroom, as immune stimulants like echinacea and garlic are noted for their intensity in effect and flavor. Chaga, in contrast, is a gentle way to boost immunity over time.


Reishi is the medicinal mushroom most closely connected to spirituality. People taking it often report newfound feelings of calm and wellbeing.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi is an exalted spiritual herb, known for thousands of years to nourish the shen. For those who may be overly cerebral or overthinkers, reishi can often help drop consciousness down into the heart and body, providing valuable shifts in perspective, and allowing you to “get out of your own way.”

Reishi is also a wonderful liver tonic, with the ability to protect against free radicals and support the function of the liver.  Less work for the liver means it can function at a higher level.

Lastly, reishi mushroom is a powerful adaptogen, with potent anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.


Cordyceps is the most ‘yang’ of the medicinal mushrooms, and is great for providing energy support without being overheating or overstimulating.

Cordyceps is best thought of as an energetic or athletic tonic, supporting stamina and energy through daily life and through your physical endeavors/exercise. It increases ATP or cellular energy production, and has even been used by olympic athletes to improve their performance.

Cordyceps also has aphrodisiac effects, supporting sexual performance and desire.

Where do I find the most potent medicinal mushrooms?

Potency and bioavailability are of utmost importance if you truly want to experience the benefits and personality of these medicinal mushrooms. What is sold at health food stores is often ground up mycelium, or the cheapest product available - people often begin by taking these weak forms of herbal supplements, and then grow discouraged because of the lack of potency.

To get the most bang for your buck, it’s important to get a dual extract from a third-party tested seller. All the medicinal mushroom extracts on are dual extracts made using hot water and alcohol, and then tested at all stages to ensure they contain the beneficial compounds you’re looking for.

Check out the new dual mushroom extracts in the best sellers section of the Hyperion Herbs store.

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